Normally you’ll find Andy Schmookler and myself on WSVA 550 AM every month discussing the various political issues of the day (except for one occasion when Andy was out of town and we needed a temporary replacement). Well, today’s show, our 15th, marked my absence. As I’m running for Harrisonburg City Council in November, unfortunately this means that I was unable to participate this month for legal reasons nor will I be able to do so next month.
Nevertheless, filling in for me was Karen Kwiatkowski, who ran against Bob Goodlatte for the Republican nomination for House of Representatives in 2012. Given that Andy Schmookler was the 2012 Democratic nominee in that very same contest, having them both on the air seemed like an interesting combination to me.
Since announcing his bid for the Republican nomination for the 2014 U.S. Senate race, a multitude of activists and elected officials have quickly thrown their support behind former RPV and RNC chairman Ed Gillespie. Curiously, although Gillespie’s campaign faithfully adds every new endorsement to their campaign website, there is practically no mention of where Gillespie stands on the issues. Several weeks ago I called his campaign to highlight this omission.
On Friday, February 7th, Mr. Gillespie came to speak at First Friday, the monthly gathering of Republicans and conservatives at the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg. He spoke for about 30 minutes. Although he provided interesting details about his family and his previous experiences, again there was little mention of actual policy positions with the exception of his opposition to Obamacare and his pro-life stance.
During the question and answer period, Karen Kwiatkowski asked him about civil liberties but didn’t get a particularly detailed response. I raised my hand to voice my thoughts as well, but was not recognized.
Once the event had concluded, I got the chance to ask Mr. Gillespie one-on-one about his website deficiency. He explained that his campaign was still new and that his staff has not had sufficient time to outline his positions. However, he did state that his website would include this information by the early part of next (this) week.
Well, the week is just about half over and still the Gillespie website is devoid of any substantive policy positions. I don’t know about you, but I have trouble getting excited about a candidate whom I know nothing about. Due to what I would assume (in part) is a lack of direct information coupled with his work alongside folks like Karl Rove, many of my conservative and liberty-minded friends have declared Gillespie to be another big government Republican; so far I cannot find anything to refute these allegations. Will Mr. Gillespie continue along his present course, remaining silent on the issues until the convention, relying on his massive number of endorsements and campaign war chest to carry him to victory at the Republican convention? Either for good or ill, will Republican delegates know whom they could potentially be nominating to challenge Senator Mark Warner?
Inquiring minds and informed voters need to know. Ideologically he might be an excellent candidate or he might be poor. Where does Ed Gillespie stand?
After Representative Bob Goodlatte faced his first ever intraparty challenge back in 2012, conservatives in the 6th district began to wonder if and when it would happen again? Would Karen Kwiatkowski return for a rematch two years later?
We now have an answer to that question. Paul Bevington, a teacher from Buena Vista, has announced his decision to challenge Bob Goodlatte for the Republican nod. Billing himself as a liberty-minded Republican, Bevington lists his principles and priorities on his website. Drawing distinction from Goodlatte and himself, he stresses his support for civil liberties such as his opposition to the Patriot Act, indefinite detention found in the NDAA, and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). In addition, like Republicans advocated several decades ago, he opposes federal involvement in education, declaring it to be “in violation of the 10th Amendment”, preferring power resting in the hands of the state and local governments. His full platform can be found at this link.
There is no doubt that Bob Goodlatte has a number of considerable advantages in terms of both name ID and money, as he did in 2012. However, there is considerable resentment against Representative Goodlatte, even among the Republican faithful. For example, there is his refusal to honor the request of the entire Sixth District Republican Committee to not reelect John Boehner as Speaker of the House of Representatives. And there is the persistent rumor that Goodlatte is planning to switch his position on immigration in the coming months in order to give amnesty to the children of illegal immigrants.
How will the Bevington and Goodlatte struggle turn out in the June 10th primary? It should be interesting to see how this contest unfolds.
Guest post by Karen Kwiatkowski, President of the Republican Women of Shenandoah County
I’m a liberty Republican, a constitutionalist. I supported Ron Paul and still do. I’m from “that” part of the Republican Party.
How many of you Republicans reading or hearing this now have already recoiled? Got an itchy uncomfortable feeling? Maybe are feeling a bit nervous, or even angry? I’m probably what you would see as an unwashed Republican, an angry Republican, someone who claims a purity of mission and theory, and one who looks down on what we have been calling “establishment” Republicans. Stand up if you think I’m wrong!
Problem #1. The majority of Republicans in Virginia don’t like Ron Paulers, constitutional conservatives, or liberty wingers. Some of this is geographical, but a lot of it has nothing to do with geography. It has to do with prejudice. We were always here, but we used to be a lot more passive, a lot less trouble. I get it!
Problem #2. Republicans are losing the vote. Our party brand in Virginia is not exciting voters – instead, it is angering them. When normal people are angry, they don’t become activists. That’s for us “1 percenters” the politically active, the standout party members. Most people, the vast majority who are angry, simply turn off. The Republican Party in Virginia has a happiness problem, and we’ve given the voters an anger problem, and they are turning away. It is a deafening silence of protest and we are not even listening.
Problem #3. The Republican leadership, with a few exceptions, is backward-looking. We are behaving like a kicked hound dog, rather than surging at our leash, excited and happy that a hunt is beginning. We got kicked because we had our head in the cat food bag. Let me make this as plain as I can. If Republican legislators and leaders take federal handouts, accrue unpayable debt, grow government by hiring more of everybody, they are eating the cat food. Private enterprise is where government needs to get out of the way, not involve itself in getting a piece of it. As a party, we are behaving like a kicked dog, because we knew we shouldn’t have done it. But we did, and now we want to justify the past. Yes, it tasted great. But cat food is for cats, and we ain’t cats.
Here’s what the RPV needs to know:
It doesn’t matter if we like each other. It’s OK. We don’t have to be friends to be allies. At every level, the RPV should be utilizing constituionalists, liberty wingers, fiscal conservatives and angry Republicans in some important way. Where can we help? We are pro gun and pro civil liberty. We are opposed to the security surveillance and police state. We are young, and we actually are NOT oriented toward being government bureaucrats. Yes we are difficult to control, but who cares. We are speaking the language of a lot of people who right now won’t vote, and won’t vote Republican. But they would if they knew the party cared about them, and was open to them as people, as citizens, and as neighbors.
Money doesn’t matter as much as the older party thinks it does. The underfunded Cuccinelli race, closing to within 3 points with a 6 point Libertarian in the race tells us that. But the establishment still thinks it does. Guess what? The future Republican Party is going to be poorer than it has been in the past forty years. I hate to be the one to point it out, but part of why we are the great unwashed in the party is because we tend to be working class and young, meaning by definition, under employed and struggling to make ends meet. We are too busy for stupidity, and we are upset that fat cats can’t hear our message. Especially cats that got fat eating the big government cat food. So if money doesn’t really matter, what does?
Local Republicans matter 10 times more than the state level candidate machines. Why ten times, and not just two times? Because local races matter, those votes actually count, and only those races can consistently turn out voters. And if the local Republican is good, or where the local Republican is running a popular conservative Independent, we bring in the votes for the rest of the ticket. It’s that simple. It isn’t about who the state party knows about, and how they voted last time. It isn’t about candidates lists and top down exhortations to get out the vote. It is who my neighbors, my friends, my coworkers, and my relatives are supporting in the local race. Because that’s who we really know, not some lying politician who keeps calling us on the phone and asking for money we don’t have. There is a lot of money to be made in managing campaigns, and lists, and organizing neighborhood walks, but the easiest thing for our party to do is to run outstanding local conservatives, and let those trusted people bring out our party’s vote. That’s how you rebuild a brand.
There you have it, RPV!
1) Get over your sense that we all have to love each other. We don’t and we never will. It’s OK.
2) Drop your obsession with money, because this country has changed. The rich in this country are more hated than ever, and the poor are the majority, even in the GOP. Money isn’t power unless you have only three TV channels. We’re watching Duck Dynasty and Elysium, and hating on the Wolf of Wall Street. Money doesn’t mean what it used to in our hearts and lives.
3) Finally, use what networks and influence you have to get conservatives elected as Republicans at the local level. Make sure popular and true (some may be social, and some may be libertarian) conservatives are backed by the Republican Party, not rejected by the old boys and girls at the top. Shenandoah County is a shining example of how that works, and what an epic fail it has been for the county GOP. We dumped two RINOs for two conservative constitutionalists. But that was only after the county party rejected them in a system that is true Tammany Hall in Virginia. If any of you read Barbara Comstock’s piece after the November election (and if you didn’t shame on you for sitting here uneducated), she gets it. The R in Republican should stand first and foremost for “Represent!”
I left out one other thing, but it kind of combines all of these. The RPV has an authenticity problem. It can’t be fixed from distant capitols telling us what to do, by money or by hating up a good portion of your party affiliates. We can do better, and I hope you’ll take to heart what I am observing from the trenches.
Republican primaries are rare here in the Shenandoah Valley. Yes, there are notable exceptions, most recently Karen Kwiatkowski’s run against Representative Bob Goodlatte in 2012, but, in general, they do not happen…except in the case of an open seat caused by a retiring incumbent.
Well, today’s news bucks that trend.
According to an email from Delegate Steve Landes of Augusta County, he will be facing a challenger for the GOP nomination for the 25th district House of Delegates seat, a position Delegate Landes has held since 1995. Today’s Landes campaign email begins “We have JUST gotten the news that Delegate Landes will be opposed for his seat in the Republican nomination…” Unfortunately, the email makes no mention of the name of Landes’ opponent, but one would assume that this information will be made public soon.
With deadlines to run for the GOP nod fast approaching, one does have to wonder if more candidates will emerge to contest the valley delegation. For example, given some of his more surprising votes in the 2013 General Assembly session, a handful of organizations and individuals have asked me over the last several weeks if I would be interested in challenging my delegate, Tony Wilt (R-26). Although I have been disappointed by quite a few his actions lately, I declined this idea.
At this point it is difficult to say whether Landes will be the only delegate with a Republican challenger or is one of several. Either way, the 2013 elections have just gotten a bit more interesting here in the Shenandoah Valley.
A press release from the Republican Women of Shenandoah County and their president, Karen Kwiatkowski
The forum held on February 9th at the LFCC campus provided nearly 200 attendees from the upper Shenandoah Valley with an up-‐close and personal view of the seven Republicans vying for the party nod for Lt Governor.
All seven candidates attended, including Stafford County Supervisor Susan Stimpson and Prince William County Supervisor Cory Stewart, US Senate Candidate Bishop E.W. Jackson, State Senator Steve Martin, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, entrepreneur Pete Snyder, and former State Senator and delegate Jeanne Marie Davis.
Event sponsors were the Republican Women of Shenandoah County, the Apple Valley Club of Winchester, and the Shenandoah Valley Constitutional Conservatives. The candidates were placed under the conservative microscope operated by moderator Suzanne Curran, Western Region Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Virginia.
While all candidates represented the values of limited government and individual opportunity, there were fireworks evident between those who have held office at the local level and often suffer from expensive federal and state mandates, and those who work or have worked in Richmond, at times dishing out those expensive mandates. The theme of liberty and freedom was consistently articulated by EW Jackson, and echoed loudly by the other candidates, especially businessman Pete Snyder who is running a well-‐funded and innovative campaign of “Big Conservative Ideas.” Susan Stimpson and Cory Stewart both touted their success in reducing taxation and invigorating local economies. Scott Lingamfelter shared status of his so-‐called Boneta Bill (Freedom to Farm without Fear) and many in the audience were very supportive of this effort to get government off of the backs of average people and local farmers.
The candidates all addressed a local issue of interest to Shenandoah County voters. Each expressed their thoughts on the direct and indirect cost to taxpayers of moral obligation bonds, and various Virginia Bond-‐Issuing Authority roles within, and relationship to, the Virginia Constitution. Virginia’s dependence on federal spending within in the Commonwealth was also discussed.
All of the candidates delivered the conservative message with passion, and the audience was large, intently listening, and well informed. The Republican Women of Shenandoah County wish to thank everyone who worked to arrange this event, the Apple Valley Club and Dody Stottlemyer specifically for personal donation of food and drinks, Shaffer’s Catering for a donation of coffee, the great people at LFCC, the attendees and the candidates, and many more.
For more information on these candidates, their websites are below:
Yesterday, fellow blogger Willie Deutsch posted a 2012 campaign piece in which Susan Stimpson joins Bill Howell in urging voters to support George Allen for the United States Senate in the June 12th Republican primary. This information, along with a host of other adventures once again begs the question, who is Susan Stimpson?
I first had the opportunity to hear Susan Stimpson at last year’s Ron Paul Legacy Dinner in Staunton, Virginia. At the time, I thought the list of speakers for the event was rather curious. After all, I only know of two recent candidates who sought or are seeking either statewide or federal office that have openly supported Ron Paul: these are Karen Kwiatkowski (who sought the 6th district GOP nomination) and Delegate Bob Marshall (who ran for Senate in 2008 and 2012). Although it is quite easy to support the cause of liberty when it is politically advantageous, it is quite another issue entirely to stand on principle regardless of the potentially negative consequences. Although Stimpson was unknown to many liberty activists, there is no question that she gained considerable traction through her appearance at this dinner.
There seemed to be an increasing avalanche of support for Stimpson among the liberty community. However, I have urged and continue to urge my fellow activists to learn about all of the candidates before blindly hopping on any bandwagon.
So who is Susan Stimpson? I’m still not sure, but one moment that sticks out in my mind took place during the forum at Liberty in Lynchburg. When asked if she supported random drug testing for welfare recipients, she stated that she did. As someone who considers himself a constitutional conservative, I found this answer to be particularly troubling for two reasons conveniently voiced by Pete Snyder and Senator Steve Martin. First, as Mr. Snyder pointed out, these drug screenings would be a considerable invasion of privacy. Although I do not have any fondness for a permanent welfare program, I’m horrified about the prospect of granting the state more power to control its citizens. The second concern, mentioned by Senator Martin is one of cost. How would the state be able to afford to drug test recipients? Wouldn’t such a move require additional state employees and equipment? From where would these funds come? Would the move require additional taxes or cuts in more important programs?
Yesterday’s information from Willie Deutsch brings the question of Susan Stimpson into the forefront again. Is she the liberty candidate? Is she the rebellious conservative outsider? Or is she, as Shaun Kenney over at Bearing Drift suggests, an establishment conservative? Now don’t get me wrong, if a candidate could successfully wear the mantles of both being an establishment Republican while simultaneously viewed as a liberty-minded libertarian/conservative, he or she would likely enjoy tremendous success. But is such a designation possible or is it merely a shell game that, if discovered, would result in utter disaster, alienating both wings of the Republican Party?
Scott Lingamfelter recently damaged his chances to win over liberty activists with his negative comments about Ron Paul supporters. But, to the best of my knowledge, he has never claimed to be the “conservative/liberty candidate”. By comparison, if Stimpson turns out to be merely an establishment candidate who adopted the clothing of liberty for political advantage, the fallout from such a realization would almost certainly be fatal to her campaign.
As a personal note, I must say that it is an extremely liberating feeling to have not selected a candidate yet, to be able to examine all of the candidates as objectively as I can without worrying if this process offends them or causes my employer or co-workers to view me unfavorably.
So, we return to our first question. Who is Susan Stimpson? Is she the liberty champion that many of my fellow Ron Paul supporters are selling her to be? Or is she something else? Either way, it is unwise to either rush to praise her or condemn her.
Regardless of your political principles, I once again encourage all of the activists seeking to be delegates to the Richmond convention in May to get informed, stay informed, and to share any and all information that they find. Don’t simply adopt my opinion or the opinion of someone else. Sure, it takes time, but do the research for yourself.
Lastly, don’t mistakenly think that the main purpose of this article is to disparage Susan Stimpson, but rather to promote awareness. After all, who knows? Once all of the dust settles, and I have sufficient data, I may find myself firmly in her camp, assuming her principles closely match my own and her campaign does a decent job articulating her message. Remember, it is okay to trust, but you must also verify.
On Saturday, February 9th, the seven Republican candidates for lieutenant governor gathered for their second forum in Virginia’s sixth district, this time in Middletown, a small town in Frederick County. The Apple Valley Club, the Republican Women of Shenandoah County, and the Shenandoah Valley Constitutional Conservatives hosted the event. Suzanne Curran was the moderator and Karen Kwiatkowski kept the time.
The forum began with opening statements from the office seekers, an introduction that lasted for about an hour. After about a twenty-minute break, Ms. Curran asked a battery of questions on a whole host of topics. Unlike the previous event in Lynchburg, all of the candidates had an opportunity to answer each of the questions. It was common for the respondents to exceed their allotted time window; Ms. Kwiatkowski shook a cowbell to silence the candidates once his or her time had expired. In a particularly amusing moment, Pete Snyder bowed to the bell when it rang for him.
Many of the topics explored at the Middletown forum were the same issues that had been discussed at the last event. For the most part, it was difficult to differentiate among candidates. Although their delivery differed, all of them claimed to be conservative; each is supposedly pro-life, each supports the 2nd Amendment, and each decries the erosion of the Constitution and the massive overreach of the federal government. The only noticeable exception was when Jeannemarie Devolites Davis announced her support of background checks at gun shows. Presumably, the longer that the seven remain relatively indistinguishable, the bigger bump the E. W. Jackson campaign should receive. After all, Jackson’s fantastic oratory skills are perhaps the greatest advantage he enjoys over the other six.
However, as the title of this article indicates, there were some moments of particular interest as the forum drew to a close. Delegate Scott Lingamfelter and Corey Stewart took a few jabs at each other as Stewart blamed the General Assembly for many local problems and for lacking courage while Lingamfelter responded claiming that local government ought to shoulder more of the responsibility. Given their roles in local and state government, both Chairman Susan Stimpson and State Senator Steve Martin were drawn into fight, though Martin seemed to try to stay above the fray.
Pete Snyder’s closing remarks filled me with some small message of hope as he reminded the audience that if you have love in your heart, just about anything is possible. Also, at the end of the event Delegate Lingamfelter seemed to make it a point to speak with me personally and ask for my support. Whether he read my last post chastising him for his remarks about Ron Paul is uncertain, but I do appreciate his willingness to try to mend fences.
In general, most of the candidates appeared a bit more polished at the Middletown event and I did not catch any major gaffes. However, given his willingness to make bold statements such as claiming that the phrase “I introduced a bill” is almost useless in politics, I believe that Corey Stewart emerged as the clear winner at the forum in Middletown. I won’t say that I agree with every single position that he articulated, but the idea of nominating a candidate who is willing to call out his or her fellow Republicans is exceedingly important. Even though I’m admittedly still jaded by his anti-Paul piece, for going toe-to-toe with Stewart, Lingamfelter claimed second place.
To all of the candidates, I would recommend making every effort to stand out in the sea of seven, clearly articulating how your positions are different and better than the rest; failure to do so may mean that soon you will be forgotten.
Last night, former Representative Ron Paul spoke to a packed room in Lee Chapel at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. The building held about 500 while another location was set up nearby to provide live video feed for those unable to fit inside. The Contact Committee, the W&L Politics Department, and the W&L College Republicans sponsored the event.
Starting at 9 AM the day before, Contact began giving out tickets to Tuesday’s event. However, in a mere forty minutes, all 350 tickets allotted for early seating were claimed, leaving the multitude with the hope of snagging one of the remaining 150 seats prior to the event on a first come first serve basis.
Given Dr. Paul’s numerous contributions to the rise of the liberty movement, along with the work I did on his campaign staff in 2007/08, and the fact that this event marked his first visit to the Shenandoah Valley, I knew that I had to make every effort to attend. As I arrived slightly too late to secure one of the early tickets on Monday morning, I left Harrisonburg at about 3:30 PM on Tuesday along with fellow activist and blogger Helen Shibut of the Madison Liberty blog.
A light rain marked our departure and it continued to be our constant companion as we traveled along Interstate 81 and into Lexington. Surprisingly, the parking lot closest to the chapel still had a couple of spots open and so we were able to avoid a lengthy walk. More shocking still had to be the number of people standing outside the chapel when we arrived. Given how quickly the tickets were exhausted, I envisioned a lengthy line of people waiting until they could enter the building at 6 PM. However, due, in part, to the poor weather, we were the 7th and 8th to enter. Even though not in line at that time, there were others who were already there. For example, Karen Kwiatkowski and a contingent of like-minded folks were lingering inside a nearby building until the time drew closer.
The weather continued to degrade, but the line grew steadily and by the time that the doors opened, one could not see from one end of the crowd to the other. Although the announcement indicated that attendees would be unable to come in the building without semi-formal attire, several people in line wore casual clothing such as blue jeans; it is uncertain whether these folks were allowed admittance.
Dr. Paul’s entered the main floor of the chapel to thunderous applause shortly after 7 PM. He spoke on a wide variety of topics important to the liberty movement including, but not limited to: a non-interventionist foreign policy, the need for a sound currency and the impending financial collapse, the importance of sticking to political principles, the proper role of government, and the constant erosion of our civil liberties. After his speech, he fielded a number of questions from the audience regarding what political party best embodied his principles, the issue of abortion, religious freedom, and concerns regarding the investigation into 9/11. The entire event lasted for a little less than an hour and a half.
All in all, I would rate Dr. Paul’s visit to Lexington as a success. The only change that I would suggest would be a larger venue. According to the various event notices posted on Facebook, W&L could have easily filled a space that was two, three, or even four times larger. So then, why did they choose the chapel? Well, there is no question that the location is picturesque and is steeped in history. The basement formally served as the office for Robert E. Lee and presently holds his remains. In addition, I was told that when Washington & Lee hosted Rudi Giuliani some time earlier, they had considerable difficulty reaching the 500-person threshold. But, such concerns were not necessary that night. After all, as Ron Paul reminds us, freedom, much like Dr. Paul himself, is popular.
Earlier today, the House of Representatives held a vote for speaker of that body. Although there was and still remains conservative animosity toward John Boehner, he secured re-election as speaker with 220 votes out of 426 cast. Nancy Pelosi finished in second place, garnering the support of the Democratic members of that body with 192 votes.
As you may know, prior to this vote, Virginia’s 6th District Republican Committee, the district that Bob Goodlatte represents in the house, passed a strongly-worded resolution calling upon Representative Goodlatte to oppose Boehner’s re-election as speaker. It should also be noted that this resolution passed unanimously, favored by Republican political activists throughout the greater Shenandoah, Page, and Roanoke Valleys.
The framers of the Constitution of the United States wisely instituted the division of powers, not merely to enable specialization of the respective commissions, but primarily to limit the powers of each community. Under the influence of both Christian thought and the abysmal historical precedents of foreign nations, they recognized the tendency even of the best of men to secure to themselves unlimited and unjust authority, and to employ it for the purpose of enslaving the masses. The authors judiciously embraced their moral obligation by including this mechanism (division of powers) for the simple frustration of such tyrannical efforts.
The imposition of Obamacare against the wishes of the people is an unequivocal expression of the anticipated tyrannical powers. Yet even though every member of the House of Representatives is aware of his ability to thwart this measure, no such effort of protection is forthcoming. Apparently few enough care more about the people they purport to represent than about their own political aspirations.
Speaker Boehner has called for “Repeal and Replace,” all the while he has been fully cognizant of the fact that the Senate and the President would not concur with him. Such disingenuous acts are intended to defraud the people while leading them to believe he is fighting for their cause. His unwillingness to lead the effort to de-fund Obama’s healthcare, a truly feasible mechanism for restraining this tyranny, is a conscious dereliction of duty. His recent commitment to active pursuit of its funding, coupled with his capitulation on the issue of amnesty and his agreement to raise taxes are acts that are nothing short of treasonous to our interests and our security.
Therefore, we are writing to notify you of our unwillingness to accept such representation; to demand that you oppose the selection of Mr. Boehner as speaker for the next session; that you only select a representative who is willing to engage fully in battle against Obamacare and the many other imprudent and unconstitutional efforts of the Obama administration, and that our future support for you is contingent upon your efforts to lead the fight to deny President Obama every unconstitutional measure, and that this must be done without excuse.
Passed unanimously, this 10th day of November, 2012
The Sixth Congressional District Republican Committee of Virginia
Although some activists may appreciate the willingness of Goodlatte to stand his ground, this move to re-elect Boehner will almost certainly infuriate his base, the conservatives of the 6th district who believe that the federal government has grown well beyond its constitutional limitations and who also think our Republican leadership has been actively leading the country in the wrong direction.
A few moments ago, I called Bob Goodlatte’s D.C. office as well as all of his district offices to confirm his vote on this matter. Although I have been unable to secure a direct confirmation from these sources, I was told if given a choice between John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, Goodlatte would choose Boehner. However, this either/or choice is not entirely correct. Although it is true that there was no single, unified Republican candidate to stand against Boehner, other options were available as illustrated by the fact that some Republican members of the house cast their votes for Rep. Eric Cantor, former Rep. Allen West, Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Raul Labrador, or David Walker. Other also voted present or remained silent when his or her name was called. According to Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Dave Nalle, Representative Goodlatte was not among the list of Republican representatives who opposed Boehner.
In this most recent election cycle, Bob Goodlatte faced a Republican challenger for the first time in his 20 years in office. Karen Kwiatkowski, his GOP opponent, attacked Mr. Goodlatte from the right, claiming that he was not conservative or liberty-minded enough to represent the people of the 6th district. Although she was unsuccessful in her first attempt, it should be noted that she did win the city of Harrisonburg and almost captured Page County as well. Today’s vote makes another challenge from either Kwiatkowski or someone else all the more likely.
Conservatives across the country are rightly upset with Boehner’s leadership and many will be unhappy to discover that he retains the position of speaker. The fact that our representative, Bob Goodlatte, chose today to ignore the wishes of some of his most important and influential constituents, the entire 6th District Republican Committee is quite surprising and could cause a particularly nasty fracture between Goodlatte and the committee.
So, the big question now is how will Virginia’s 6th district Republicans react to this news?